18 May 2008

bikefix Initial Review: Ergon GE1 grips

Let me start this review off by saying thatI really don’t have big problems with my wrists while riding and that I don’t have strong preferences about grips (many people do), so (to put it simply) I wasn’t all that excited to try these grips. I decided to put them on my single-speed mountain bike because I really wrench on those bars when riding. After three months' use, I am actually impressed.

The German company Ergon takes their name from ergonomics, which is the science of human-machine interface efficiency. After riding a fair number of miles on the company's most traditional-looking grip other models have a large wing under the rider's palm), I think they are great. First of all, they definitely reduce hand fatigue. I find that I haven't been gripping the bars as tightly as I usually do (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway) and as a result, my hands feel fresher after riding. Ergon's literature talks about the design allowing frequent change of hand positions, but in practice, I found that the opposite was true. Sure I could move my hand around a couple of millimeters in each direction but any further than that that and my hands wanted to go back to where they started. Not a big deal, but I thought it was odd that they mention something that never occurred to me was that important on a mountain bike and when my experience was more or less opposite what was suggested.

I rode an XC mountain bike race recently with these grips and I really liked how evenly they distribute pressure over my hands. My hands felt surprisingly happy while being jostled all over the (very bumpy) racecourse and even fairly fresh at the finish line.

My one complaint with the grips is that they do tend to feel a bit vague- as if you aren’t sure exactly where your hands are and exactly what they are doing. It’s probably something one can get used to, and who knows, maybe its just a result of my hands being in a more comfortable/neutral position, but I definitely felt slightly “detached” from the steering compared to other grips I have used.

Ergon also mentions that the GE1 can help with Ulnar Nerve comfort. I don’t seem to have an Ulnar nerve problem on mountain bikes, so I can’t make a judgment on this but I do tend to believe that these grips will offer some relief for people whose hands fall asleep while riding.
The GE1’s look pretty good, and the locking clamps also serve as stops to keep your hand from shooting off the end of the bar (another problem that I never had), but it is not a bad idea and maybe it’s the thought that counts. The palm rubber is firm but not too hard and a bit softer than the rest of the grip to provide cushion where you probably need it most.

I like these grips. They come in two sizes: Small (134mm) and Large (140mm) and they weigh about 182g (which is probably more than your stem, but I'll take comfort over light weight, thank you). I’ll change them over to my geared full-suspension bike soon and give an update after a few more months and (hopefully many) summer epics. They retail for around $35.00.

charlie

www.ergon-bike.com

see our Ergon BD-2 Pack review here

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